Channeling in The First Age
The average age of a woman’s onset of channeling is 16 years old. The youngest a woman may begin to channel is 14 and oldest is 18, with frequency of onset for a given age following a standard bell curve. The slowing of aging begins in the late teens.
Female Wilders were not born until 2013, therefore their abilities will emerge between the ages of 14-18 (years 2027-current).
The average age of a man’s onset of channeling is 25. The youngest a man may begin to channel is 19 and the latest is 30, with frequency of onset for a given age following a standard bell curve. Note that the Ascendancy channeled at 18 years of age. So far, he is the only exception. The slowing of aging begins in the late 20's.
Male Wilders were not born until 2013, therefore their abilities will emerge between the ages of 20-30 (years 2033-current).
Unless a channeler learns control, the Sickness is a condition experienced by all Wilders during the First Age. Wilders who unintentionally and unknowingly channel unsafely, will, at the time, generally feel nothing. The sickness, a violent reaction to using the Power, is delayed as much as ten days later. However the length of time between channeling and severity of reaction is proportional to how much and how often the person channels. The effects (headache, nausea, fever, exhilaration numbness, dizziness, lack of coordination to name a few) return after each incidence of channeling. Each time the reaction comes closer to the actual act of using the Power until the two are almost simultaneous. At which point death usually results. It is a fast, violent and gruesome death. The victim dies in agony which no medicine can alleviate. Some die within a year after the first reaction, some die as many as five years later. Unless the Wilder learns control, death is inevitable. It is the channeling sickness which the WHO has mistaken as a new pandemic.
Channeling for extended periods of time is physically straining in inverse proportion to the strength of the channeler.
The oldest channeler, the Ascendency, is sixty-one years old. Added to the rumor of strange powers, his lack of aging adds to his overall mystery and allure. However, we are still yet unaware the lifespan of a channeler might last a millennium.
Until you learn control or someone teaches you the way, you are probably unaware you are channeling. You might attribute the strange events around you to “luck”.
Those who survive the sickness and learn control always develop a block which constrains when or where they can voluntarily channel. For more information, see WoT wiki: Block. For now, we have not rediscovered the presence of anyone who can learn to channel.
External consequences of channeling
Due to the WHO-mandated pandemic mitigation measures, anyone within the ages of 14-30 exhibiting the classic outbreak symptoms are all reported to local public health departments. Which means there is an easy paper trail the Atharim could use to find you. Those the Atharim find, they execute, frequently executing the channeler's first degree relatives as well. In this time of tension, what murders the Atharim do not cover up are often attributed to accidents or otherwise go uninvestigated.
To contain the pandemic, some areas began quarantine measures. Containment hospitals only make the Atharim's hunt all the easier. These days, mob mentality can erupt quickly. You will definitely be worried about yourself: do you merely have the flu or will you soon die screaming?
Any evidence of your channeling may result in religious persecution. You may be accused of witch-craft, dabbling in dark arts, or participating in the occult. In fact, you may turn to these things to find the answers you're seeking.
The rules differ regarding men and women detecting other channelers. In short, women can detect other women who are actively channeling or have channeled in the past. It is described as a sort of kinship. Men can detect other men who can channel but only while they are actively channeling. It is described as a menacing presence in the room. Finally, if a woman is actively channeling, a man senses a general chill. Women cannot sense men.
For a review of this process, including the range of detection, see this great article from the 13th Depository
Life as a Wilder
Your first channeling experience will be dramatic. Being born with the ability, if you are put in a desperate situation, you will be driven to reach out to the one thing that can give you what you desperately want or need: the Power. Once you start channeling its impossible to stop, the addictive nature of the Power will see to that. It will also take you some time to reach your full potential. You are vulnerable at this stage, prone to overchanneling and death or succumbing to the Sickness.
The most important thing you must do as a Wilder is write out the experience where you learn control, either in your biography or played out in scenes on the forums, otherwise death is certain. Your Block will likely remain without proper guidance, and in the First Age, you'll need to be creative to find a mentor (such as the Buddist monks referenced in the Ascendancy's biography). Remember, "A fish cannot teach a bird to swim," that is, the nature of the Power tapped by men and women is quite different.